Former Fox News executive Roger Ailes, who co-founded the network in the mid-1990s and became a dominant force in conservative politics, has died, his wife says. He was 77 years old.
“I am profoundly sad and heartbroken to report that my husband, Roger Ailes, passed away this morning surrounded by his beautiful family,” Elizabeth Ailes said. “Roger was my best friend, the most wonderful loving husband and father to our son Zachary. He was a loyal friend to so many.”
Elizabeth’s statement added: “Roger was a patriot, grateful to live in a country that gave him so much opportunity to work hard, to rise – and to give back. During a career that stretched over more than five decades, his work in entertainment, in politics, and in news affected the lives of many millions. And so even as we mourn his death, we celebrate his life.”
There was no immediate word on a possible cause of death, though the former executive’s health was known to be poor. Gabriel Sherman, of New York Magazine, said Ailes recently fell and suffered a blood clot, which led to multiple complications.
Ailes co-founded Fox News in 1996 after being asked to lead the effort by media mogul Rupert Murdoch
“Everybody at Fox News is shocked and grieved by the death of Roger Ailes,” Murdoch said in a statement. “A brilliant broadcaster, Roger played a huge role in shaping America’s media over the last 30 years. He will be remembered by the many people on both sides of the camera that he discovered, nurtured and promoted.”
Ailes was forced to resign as CEO and chairman in July 2016 after former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson accused Ailes of sexual harassment, though Ailes strongly denied the allegations, claiming they were retaliatory for the network’s decision not to renew her contract. Several other women had also accused Ailes of sexual harassment.
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